Blood+: Part One

This anime TV series derives its inspiration from the celebrated movie Blood: The Last Vampire, sharing with it a young female looking to save the world from bloodsucking menaces. Alas, here the protagonist proves to be such a whimperer and vacillator that one cries out for a little more resolve (and a lot more shit-kicking). Heroine Saya starts off as a normal high school student, albeit one with amnesia, who gets a rude awakening when the authorities who placed her show up and reveal that she’s sort of a part vampire creature who must help defeat the demonic menace known as the "Chiropterans.” But if you thought this would be the springboard to Buffy-esque adventures in female self-determination, you haven’t counted on the writers and their commitment to tedium. Though they whisk her off to Vietnam, Russia and points in between to discover her origins and tempt her with offers from the other side, Saya never seems to make any decisions on her own; she’s the pawn of various mentors, relatives and hangers-on who bury her in guilt and crush her with obligations. In another context, this might have been interesting, but the rest of the characters are so one-dimensional (and so unfettered by the protagonist’s terrible responsibility) that the audience whipsaws between annoyance at the irritating point of identification and boredom with the dullards and stereotypes who surround her. There’s some attempt to balance the drama with action but there’s too much of the inadequate former and not enough of the lacklustre latter to be decently entertaining. Fans should note that one disc contains reams of interviews with the creators and voice talent. An introductory manga and a T-shirt round out the box set. (Sony)